There are many types of jaw pain, but throbbing pain that seems to radiate through your entire jaw is one of the most common—and one of the most debilitating. Getting rid of your throbbing jaw pain starts with getting to the bottom of what's causing it. Here are some likely possibilities.
Grinding your teeth
Some people do this when stressed. Many do it only at night, so they're not entirely aware that they do it. Even if you don't grind from side to side, clenching your jaw shut can strain your muscles and lead to aches and pains. Pay attention throughout the day to see if you're clenching your jaw when you feel anxious or stressed. To find out if you're clenching or grinding at night, ask your partner or a good friend to observe you and tell you what they see. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques like meditation and exercise can help break this habit. You may also want to have your dentist design you a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent grinding.
Are your teeth quite crooked? Do you have a pronounced overbite or underbite? Dental misalignments can cause you to chew in an abnormal manner, putting stress on your jaw muscles and leading to aches and pains. If you think your misalignments may be to blame, schedule a consultation with an orthodontist to see whether you're a candidate for braces or invisible aligners.
If you have an infected tooth root, the pain can sometimes radiate through your whole jaw. The throbbing sensation comes from the inflammation in tissues surrounding the infected area. Throbbing pain from an infection generally appears quite suddenly. You may also have a fever and may notice increased soreness if you place pressure on a certain tooth. If you suspect you have an infection, don't delay treatment, as it could spread into your bone and possibly even into your brain, having deadly consequences. Schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist. You may need to have the tooth extracted or a root canal performed, and antibiotics will probably be prescribed to help your body fight the infection.
Don't just ignore throbbing jaw pain. Consider the possibilities above, and if you're still not quite sure what's wrong, make an appointment with your dentist. Whether caused by an infection, misaligned teeth, or grinding your teeth, it won't just go away on its own.